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Miyeni unfair to fat people

By unknown | Jul 16, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THIS is a response to Eric Miyeni's column in Sowetan on July 12.

THIS is a response to Eric Miyeni's column in Sowetan on July 12.

Over the past decade we shared a social circle and our interactions have been limited to polite greetings and a few short conversations.

Myeni says he was inspired by what he heard on SAfm when I appeared on Karabo Kgoleng's show. During that interview several male listeners asked why I never affirm plus-sized men in the same way I encourage self-acceptance among voluptuous women.

I conceded to being biased and undertook to create messages in future that would embrace men and women alike.

In the interests of promoting health, I have tested for HIV publicly three times. I consistently refuse to perform at events sponsored by alcohol and cigarette companies. I do not eat red meat, chicken or pork and for the past four months, have stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine.

Aside from his brief assertion of "love and respect", Miyeni has never engaged with my work. He does not know my history or that my weight has fluctuated since childhood. He does not know that I come from a plus-sized family or that when he met me at age 21 I was starving myself to be skinny.

Miyeni perceives me as an easy target because I publicly encourage overweight people to love themselves.

It is sad that he represents a pervasive mentality. Fat people are an obvious target. We walk into a room and people project all their issues on us. People see us as greedy, lazy slobs who have no interest in life. Statistics show that even in the workplace there is discrimination against us.

We are supposed to have low self-esteem. We are supposed to seek approval from others. Society projects their own self-hatred, shame and self-judgment on us.Their trump card is medical research. What about alcoholics, smokers or sex addicts? No one judges them for health reasons.

If you are attacked for being fat, understand that you are a scapegoat for other issues. South Africa is a traumatised society. Why don't people put their cocaine on the table or their bottles of alcohol, their extra-marital relationships, their financial debts, their HIV status, their illegitimate children and their repossessed goods?

Let's all put the sources of our shame on the table the way every fat person does.

Myeni has received more attention this past week for insulting me than he has in ages. This is not about his concern for my health; he is a misogynist.

Lebo Mashile, Johannesburg


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